Halfway through January, and everyone is still optimistic. My friends' Facebook updates are full of gym visits, and blogs overflow with gentle redirections to healthy fare after the holiday blitz of indulgence. Everyone is keeping a firm eye on their budget and their waistline again, as we swing back toward a more balanced way of living.
I don't actually have anything against processed foods. I know some people who have gone on a cleansing binge and threw out every last item, but I require my little treats, and also possess a four-year-old who won't eat anything other than canned ravioli right now (this too shall pass, I remind myself almost daily). It is generally sensible, however, from both a dietary and budgetary standpoint, to make sure that processed items are a small category on your shopping list.
Time is obviously a factor as well (the adage "good, fast, cheap, pick two" definitely comes into play), but this is where the planning comes in. Think ahead, use your leftovers wisely, and you won't find yourself falling back on "convenience" anything, because you'll already have it. Which is awesome.
So here's the menu plan this week:
Saturday - Potato Frittata; Butternut Squash Soup
Sunday - Roast Chicken; Butternut Squash Pilaf *
Monday - Black Pepper Tofu **
Tuesday - North Woods Bean Soup ***
Wednesday - Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower
Thursday - Pork Fried Rice ****
Friday - Fish TBD
* Using up the rest of the squash, something I am generally horrible about.
** To which I will add some veggies, and make some extra rice.
*** Lydia's pick for the week
**** Using up the extra rice made earlier in the week.
Since we have a three-day weekend, I may have time to make some chicken stock or marinara sauce--or even to bake something, which it feels like I haven't done in weeks.
Probably because I haven't done it in weeks.
Processed foods required? I'm not sure if pancetta and kielbasa count as processed. Pasta technically is, and so is rice if you want to get picky about it. I'll pick up some canned broth in case I don't have time to make it after all. The tofu dish requires cornstarch, which I'm almost out of. I do rely on canned beans for the soup. Pretty much all real food here, though. The produce aisle part of my list is much longer than any of the others = success in this book.
I'd also like to direct you to the Tummy Treasure blog, where an interesting experiment in budget-friendly meal-planning is going on. I generally throw caution to the winds while I shop, and while I doubt I will ever be as disciplined as she is (unless forced to by circumstances), I find reading this series to be a helpful reminder that it's not actually necessary to spend a small fortune to put good (real) food on the table.